My friend Chris often drives a few hours south to go camping and hiking with me, but he planned this trip and I ended up driving north for a short overnight backpacking trip in the Wasatch Range. Lake Blanche was our destination, which is about 3.5 miles from and 2,600 feet above Big Cottonwood Canyon in Mill B South Fork. The trees were mostly green, though some of the oaks and maples had turned to oranges and reds. We’d started late in the afternoon and were met by a lot of day-hikers descending as we made the climb. Some of the snow from earlier in the week was sticking around in the upper elevations, and a couple of trail sections were slushy or hard-packed snow.
Upon arriving at Lake Blanche, we had missed the last light on Sundial Peak. However, there was still a nice reflection of the peak in the water. We had each packed a couple of beers up and enjoyed them with dinner. I only counted two other groups who were spending the night in the area, but none of them were camped closed enough to see or hear–it felt like we had the place to ourselves. We watched the sun set and the city lights begin to glow in the Salt Lake Valley far below.
Saturday morning was dreary. We filtered some water out of the lake, and prepared coffee and breakfast on a small boulder that made a perfect table. After breakfast it began to rain. Chris and I huddled up in our tents and slowly packed our gear away until the rain let up. Then, we took down our wet tents and started hiking back down the trail at around 9AM. Some inscriptions along the trail dated at least as far back as 1924. There was a handful of day-hikers going up the trail, but the weather must have scared many of them away. I think on a normal Saturday morning the trail would have been packed. It sprinkled for much of the descent and we were both soaked when we returned to our vehicles.
We hadn’t planned anything for the rest of Saturday and Sunday, but then Chris said, “Wanna go camping in a cave?” Continued here.